Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.
Bob Howell
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Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Bob Howell »

I have been using a neighbors but now ready to get my own.

I have re sawed a lot of sapele, walnut and maple and want to finish it up with a sander. Ten inches seems to be a cut off for size. That would work fine.

Saw a Grizzle 10" on Craig's list. Looked at new models and realize all the brands have changed. Performax made the first small sizes but I don't even see them.

What models would work for an hobbyist.

Bob

Eric Baack
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get>

Post by Eric Baack »

You could make one ;)

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Eric Knapp
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get>

Post by Eric Knapp »

Eric Baack wrote:You could make one ;)
Ha! I've been watching videos of guys that make their own based on their lathe. I have a lathe. The idea is an interesting one, you just have to make a drum that's nice and round, like on a lathe. Then wrap sandpaper around it. Then build an adjustable platform that sits under the drum and feed stock in from the top. It's simple enough if you have that lathe, which I do. Hmm...

-Eric

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Bob Gramann »

Ages ago, I made one. It worked pretty well but in the end, I decided that I needed automatic feed. Rather than design and build that, I just bought the Delta 18". I'm glad I did. I use it frequently and get pretty good results. The automatic feed makes the results a lot more consistent and doesn't throw wood when you slip with your grip. And, it's a bit safer than pushing your workpiece through.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Bryan Bear »

I made mine about 8 years ago. Manual feed certainly has its drawbacks but it is not that bad for my low level of production. I do several passes at my final setting and end up with a consistent enough surface. I also learned early on to position it such that I am standing on the side. I push the material in with one hand and pull it out with the other. That helps me keep a constant speed as well as being out of the way of any kickbacks. I rarely have any kickback but the few times it has happened I was trying to take too big of a bite and I knew better. . .

The one nice thing about building my own is that I never would have ponies up the cash for a 25 inch drum. I can do the early passes on backs and tops across the grain. That really takes material off fast.
PMoMC

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Jason Rodgers
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Jason Rodgers »

I found one of the Jet 10-20 Plus benchtop drum sanders on craigslist back in March, and I don't know how I've done without it. In short time, I resawed and cleaned up every piece of wood in my shop that was suitable for a bookmatched electric drop top... 2 dozen tops should keep me busy for a while.

Previous iterations of this sander apparently had issues with feeder belt tracking and frequent thermal overload on the drum motor, but the Plus generation has solved this. Another problem down the road is the height adjusting screw can strip out, but replacement parts are available, and I've learned of a gent in the UK who machines a new part that is superior. As for adjustability to sand flat, it's not hard to set, but there is bound to be a little flex in an open-end design, and I check it every now and again. Replacing the paper takes some getting used to, and I don't bother with the funny tool.

This sander has become one of the most used tools in my shop.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Bob Howell
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Bob Howell »

I have just finished putting together a fox side bender. I have made a lot of tools and refurbished others. Now I want to get back to wood working.

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Randolph Rhett
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Randolph Rhett »

I made one. It works in a pinch, but I certainly didn't build the work of art I've seen on this forum for shop built sanders. I have no idea why factory built ones are so ridiculously expensive. However, even having built one I would probably buy one if I had a windfall of money.

I don't love building tools (and I built my own CNC machine!) I love building guitars. The amount of thought, and time, and effort that goes into building my own tools always feels like precious time taken from building guitars. In the end, I can justify time towards my hobby but not much money. It can take me 100 hours and two years to build my CNC machine but I can't justify to my family spending $5K on just buying one. Especially since the time I devote to guitars is usually fro 9pm to 1am while they sleep.

Same story with a drum sander. A planer is a couple of hundred dollars. From a manufacturing point of view, a drum sander is essentially the same. A motor, pulleys, bearings, adjustment screws, a machined surface. For whatever reason the drum sander is a $1500 item. I can't justify the expense, so I spent a week of late nights building one. If my situation was one where I could buy one, would I? In a heart beat.

In fact, I occasionally have access to one like this:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/24-Drum ... -VS/G1066Z

It is a dream come true for me.

Rodger Knox
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Rodger Knox »

I've got a Performax 16-32, and have been very pleased with it.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon

Mark Fogleman
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Mark Fogleman »

If you make one you really need some type of feed other than pushing it through by hand. A simple hand crank roller with a replacement abrasive belt from a large belt sander can be cut to fit. Check with a cabinet shop for a worn belt from their Timesaver/other brand. The key is a steady continuous motion because you make a divot when you stop to change hand position while pushing. Safer too. Degloved fingers aren't pretty. A scrap wiper motor is an option also.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

"Safer too. Degloved fingers aren't pretty"

Don't think you can easily pull your fingers out of a sander if they get sucked into it. Automatic feed is better and safer.

I get by with an old Ryobi 16/32 drum sander. Not the greatest, but a balance of cost to function.

Mark Fogleman
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Mark Fogleman »

Clay Schaeffer wrote:
I get by with an old Ryobi 16/32 drum sander. Not the greatest, but a balance of cost to function.
That was my first drum sander. Ryobi used to make tools that were not disposable. Pretty sure they hold the patent for the home shop class of drum sanders. I have a pdf of the operator's manual for it if you need one. PM me if you do.

Joel Nowland
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Joel Nowland »

I have had a Delta 18/36 drum sander for 12 to 15 years now. It has worked great. I chose it because it functions more like a planer with the table moving up and down on 4 jack screws and a stationary head.

if I were going to buy a new sander I would go with the General single drum 24" sander which uses a rubber type feed belt similar to a wide belt sander.

For the precision sanding you do for guitar building, one of the problems with these smaller sanders is the use of an abrasive belt for stock feeding. The area where the feed belt is joined is about 8 to 10 thousands thicker which can put a dip or thin spot in your material.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Joel Nowland wrote: For the precision sanding you do for guitar building, one of the problems with these smaller sanders is the use of an abrasive belt for stock feeding. The area where the feed belt is joined is about 8 to 10 thousands thicker which can put a dip or thin spot in your material.
That's good to know. So it seems for the last pass or two, it would be wise to let the join pass before feeding the work in.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Gordon Bellerose
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

I have gone with the Delta 18/36 also.
I think the model I have is now obsolete, and I have not checked to see if they are available anywhere. You may find one used.

As to operating functions, I think it is one of the better ones out there. Good accuracy, easily adjustable table, not too hard to change belts, fully adjustable belt tightening for the feed table. Runs on 115 volt power, so no rewiring of your shop.
With the one open end, it can be used to sand wide pieces too, for the times you may want to build something other than guitars.

It has become one of the most used tools in my shop.
Don't use it as a planer. Even with 80 grit sandpaper on the drum, you have to take small bites. I think taking too big a bite is how a lot of people have broken the machine.

Remember, you do need dust collection on these machines.
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Joel Nowland
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Joel Nowland »

Peter

That's a good idea. It probably not really necessary, but I let the joint pass every time which allows even a 36" length guitar side to sand end to end without being over the belt joint.

This is not really necessary for general sanding because the head is very rigid but, FYI:

I built a bracket which connects the open end of the head to the base for a solid closed end sander. The bracket is two 3/8" threaded rods bolted to two pieces of angle iron one bolted to the open end side of the head and one to the side of the base. I can tighten and loosen the nuts on the threaded rods until the drum is perfectly parallel with the feed table giving me perfectly uniform sanding. It was only off by 5 thousands of an inch.

Only once have I removed the bracket to sand a 24" wide bench top for my dad.

Mark Fogleman
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Mark Fogleman »

Here's a plywood diy Ryobi 16/32 drum chasis support similar to the one I used. Notice the metal version in the photo. They prevent chasis flexing as the workpiece is pulled under the spinning drum. If you're not concerned about getting it down to the thousandths you can just spin the board around and cancel out the majority of any difference.

Image

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Thanks for this picture, Mark. I'm going to rig up one of these end holds, too.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Barry Daniels »

I have wanted to build something similar for my Performax, but I will have to rig up a different set of mounts.
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Bob Howell
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Re: Considering a thickness sander. What to get?

Post by Bob Howell »

Anybody have experience with the Grizzly 10" G0716. It is $415 with $75 shipping for a new one.

Nothing else comes close. But if it is junk it will do no good.

Bob

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